Sunday, November 30, 2008

Allie's Birthday Recap


On November 24 Allie turned "free!" The Sunday before her third birthday we had a party fit for royalty to celebrate. About a month ago, in preparation for the festivities, I asked Allie what type of party she wanted to which she exclaimed, "A princess party with ALL the princesses!" So, Sunday afternoon while her royal highness was napping we blew up princess balloons, taped up princess banners, and set up all the princesses on her pink cake.

When Princess Allie awoke, she was sooooo excited for her party to begin. When Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Chris, and Aunt Stephanie arrived, she eagerly and patiently waited to open all of her presents while we tried desperately to wake up the last guest invited who looked like this in his crib:
The party got off to a fabulous start by Allie opening up and playing with all of her presents. All the princesses made their official appearance in their completely furnished royal rose palace.



We all enjoyed a lasagna dinner followed by pink princess cake with vanilla ice cream. Allie was quite eager to blow out her candles and just couldn't wait until we were done singing "Happy Birthday!" The cake was delicious and Allie especially enjoyed the icing!


Monday, Allie's actual birthday, started out by Allie waking me up at 6:30 a.m. to ask if it was ok for her to play with her castle. For breakfast we had special birthday cereal (cheerios with blueberries and strawberries).

Since we were all feeling a bit under the weather we spent most of the day at home watching princess movies and playing with all the princesses and the castle (there were countless weddings throughout the day, in addition to all the princesses being awoken from their deep slumbers by "true love's kiss"). For a special treat, we went through the McDonald's drive-thru and picked up cheeseburger Happy Meals to eat at home for lunch.


After dinner at home, we all went to Target so that Allie could pick out something to purchase with her birthday money from Great-Grandma. She quickly chose an Ariel doll wearing a wedding dress: complete with high heels, tiara, bouquet, and veil. Following the shopping trip, we all had special birthday ice cream at Coldstone where Allie chose her very own scoop of blue moon ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

Allie had such a great time on her birthday that she is already asking when her next one is going to be!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgving, Allie told me she is thankful for:
  • TV
  • Trees
  • Grass
  • Slippers
  • People
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Snowmen
  • Princesses
  • Castles

And, if Zach could tell me, I'm sure he'd be thankful for:

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Allie
  • Food...of any and all kind
  • Cars
  • His Toy Popping Turtle

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Yuck

I wish I could say I haven't posted in a while because we've been busy, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Instead, we've just all been feeling kind of yucky. Nothing major. Just yucky. Runny noses, coughs, fevers, aches, sometimes upset stomachs. Anyway, after the busy day we had last Tuesday catching up on a bunch of errands on my To-Do List, the yuck hit us with vengeance on Wednesday morning....which is actually ok. First of all, this yuck is NOTHING compared to Hand/Foot/Mouth (which we were oh so blessed to experience a couple months ago) and is not even in the same league as cleaning up puke multiple times a day for days and days on end (which I have decided must be about the absolute most yuckiest job in the entire world...it makes my stomach churn to even think about it!). Secondly, I'm grateful the yuck hit us before the Thanksgiving holiday. I figured since we'd been healthy for about a month before last Wednesday that our time was probably just about up...I'd rather feel yucky before our car trip to Wisconsin to spend Thanksgiving. The only worse thing than cleaning up puke is anticipating cleaning up puke while driving over 11 hours in a mini van through a blizzard with a sick 2-year old and a 3-month old who wants to nurse every hour...long story....

Anyway, we've been spending our week of yuck watching a lot of Veggie Tales and Princess movies, reading books, playing with legos, taking naps...you know...just a lot of time at home. Last week in an attempt to get out of the house I took both kids to the grocery store to pick up some things for Allie's birthday party (which was yesterday...and we had a lot of fun...detailed post to come...with pictures!). After about 10 minutes in the grocery store I realized that it probably wasn't a good idea for the mommy with a massive sinus headache to take both the whiner and screamer (I'll let you guess who's who) out in public when they were feeling so crummy. The cookie wasn't even enough to pacify their volume.

Anyway, we are still feeling yucky. A little less yucky than last week...so that is good.

We are celebrating Allie's birthday (which is today-yay!) by staying home and watching movies and playing with her princesses and princess castle (which she got as a birthday gift and she is completely enthralled!). Thankfully we have some leftover princess birthday cake because the first thing Allie asked this morning when I told her that it was her birthday (since we had her party yesterday she thought yesterday was her actually birthday and was a little confused this morning that it was still her birthday) was "Are we having more princess cake?!" Hmmm....like mother, like daughter. I'm sure more cake will cure our yuck, right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Typical Tuesday

We're having a slow morning today...which is good. The last few weeks we've had something planned almost every single day and that has meant rushing around every morning to get to whatever activity it is that pops up on my Microsoft Outlook Today reminder (and yes! I switched to using a calendar on the computer and I am actually loving it!). I like being busy...I'm actually way more productive when we're busy...but that doesn't mean a lazy, nothing-really-to-do day isn't in order every now and then. Allie, on the other hand, will have none of it. One of the first questions out of her mouth this morning directed to Ben: "Where are we going today...what are we doing?" to which Ben replied, "Well, I'm going to work and you guys are going to stay at home today." Allie proceeded to shoot Ben a look of pure disgust at such an abhorrently lazy way to spend a perfectly beautiful day and went on to suggest, "Maybe we should just go to the mall. I'll go tell mommy." Mommy had just barely rolled out of bed...it wasn't even 7:00 a.m. yet.

So...here we are...it is now about 8:15 a.m on a Tuesday morning:

  • Waffle breakfasts have been eaten...along with fruit cups and bananas.
  • Dishwasher has been unloaded.
  • Lemon Chicken is beginning to roast away in the crockpot.
  • Zach and Allie are completely trashing Zach's room...how do I know this for sure? They are both in his room...and it is quiet...almost too quiet...that is most assuredly a good sign that a gigantor mess is being made right at this very moment while I type.
  • The sun is shining.
  • I have a to-do list the size of a 500-page novel.
  • Speaking of novels...I've actually been reading a novel...and would rather curl up on the couch to read more of it today instead of tackling that enormously long to-do list.
  • But, instead, I must go take a shower.
  • Allie is now at my feet bugging me about what we are going to do today and where we are going. Zach is.....hmm....not really sure where Zach is....
  • Today's agenda is no longer lazy.
  • On the list of things to accomplish on this no-longer-lazy morning: oil change for the van, vacuum out the van, get stamps at the post office, go rescue Zach (there is now screaming coming directly from the aforementioned too-quiet room).

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pink Lemonade and Popcorn Anyone?

This past Monday night Ben and I plopped ourselves down on the couch in eager anticipation of watching our VHS recorded weekly episode of NBC’s Heroes. No…sadly we are not owners of a TiVo. And, even if we did own a TiVo, there is no guarantee whatsoever that I would be capable of using it correctly. Honestly, I still have issues with the VCR. So, anyway, VHS recorded episodes of TV shows or TV shows on DVD are just about the only way that Ben and I watch TV now that we have kids. Sure, we do some channel surfing now and then, but that rarely brings us to anything remotely entertaining to watch…that’s usually when we end up staring blankly at the screen while numbly taking in episodes of Antique Road Show or trying to guess which of the early 90’s movies that no one has ever heard of before, but that has now become infamous by its being played night after night after night on TBS. And, no, we don’t have cable…otherwise, we’d definitely not be lacking for what to watch as I’m sure we’d be doing absolutely nothing else but watching TLC and The History Channel. We became inaugurated into the world of pre-recorded television watching when Allie was first born and we whizzed through the entire first three seasons of Alias on DVD during the first two months of her life…and yep…we pretty much slept, fed Allie, changed Allie, and watched episodes of Alias for those first few shocking, eye-opening, mind-numbing, sleep-depraved months of becoming new parents.

Anyway, Heroes is definitely one of our favorite and anticipated shows these days and what better way to enjoy a favorite TV show than with our favorite evening snack. So, we popped some popcorn with the whirly popper and I took out the pitcher to make some pink lemonade. And, just like every time I make pink lemonade to go with popcorn, I asked Ben if he would like a glass to which he responded, as he always does, with a disgusted “umm…No.” He really has never understood my affinity toward the combination of popcorn and pink lemonade (and it has to be pink lemonade…the regular stuff just won’t do). Truth be told, the sour pink lemonade/salty popcorn combo is definitely a bit odd, but I’ve always liked it ever since I was a little girl and my mom would make popcorn and pink lemonade for family movie or TV night. It’s kind of like how I always prefer a Coke float rather than a Root Beer float because that is how my dad would always make them…and, to this day, vanilla ice cream always seems to taste better combined with the froth from a real Coke rather than that of the more traditional Root Beer.

And, now that the kids are tucked into bed and sleeping soundly, I must wrap this post up as Ben is waiting for me so that we can enjoy yet another favorite TV show, Bones, courtesy of the VHS tape. I better go get the popcorn…and some pink lemonade.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What a Difference One Week Can Make

Last Tuesday we spent the entire glorious fall morning basking in almost 70-degree balmy, mostly sunny weather at the Como Zoo in St. Paul. Because we are usually up with the chickens at our house, we arrived at Como Zoo far before the opening time at 10:00 a.m. Luckily, there are some playground toys nearby, so the kids had fun playing and swinging before venturing over to the zoo:


We all had a fun time seeing lots of animals over at the zoo. While I'm not sure what Allie's favorite animal is (because the answer changes every time you ask her), Zach was definitely enthralled by the huge gorillas and the fish. Upon entering the aquatics building, Zach reached up from his stroller, extended his little chubby pointer finger, and enthusiastically proclaimed: "ish! ish! ish!" We also got the opportunity to see the zoo keepers feed the Puffins and Penguins. Allie thought it was especially neat to watch the Puffins "flying"through the water. All three of us watched perplexed as the Puffins swam underneath the water, using their wings to propel themselves forward, to get to their meal.


In addition to the zoo, we also enjoyed visiting the adjacent conservatory and new children's activity area. After all of our explorations, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and headed home just in time for afternoon naps.




What a fun day! In addition to the great weather, it was also a completely whine-free, tear-free, and tantrum-free morning. I was/am still in shock!
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Fast forward one week to today...
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This morning we bundled up in our hats, coats, and mittens to venture out into the cloudy, gloomy, most assuredly less than 30-degree (brrrrr!) chilly arctic Fall weather. We made our way through sleet/snow/rain to the Eagle's Nest indoor playground in New Brighton and spent the morning climbing through tubes, zooming down slides, and frolicking wildly in the huge pit of balls (all while enjoying the moderately cozy comfort of the beautiful Minnesota indoors).
After a few mild yet manageable temper tantrums, several tears, incessant whining, and one HUGE assertion of will at the sight of another child with a McDonald's Happy Meal, it was definitely time to go home, get some lunch, and tuck two very tired kiddies into their beds for some desperately needed naps.
What a difference one week can make! Amazing.
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Confession Time:
Yes. I admit it. I am most assuredly guilty of the highest offense. I gave in and I completely caved to the whining. We had McDonald's Happy Meals for lunch today. Naughty mommy. Maybe as punishment someone could put me to bed early tonight?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hooray...It's Allie's Special Day!

This morning it was finally Allie's turn to be the special child at our Musikgarten class. She has been waiting in eager anticipation for her special day since our music classes began this past September. The special child of the day gets to wear an especially colorful jingle-bell necklace and acts as the teacher's special personal helper during the class by taking out and putting away all the special instruments.

The special child also gets to bring a special item to show to the rest of the class. Last night Allie told me that she wanted to bring a special instrument..."the special drum that is downstairs and way up high!" I was puzzled as to what she was talking about so I had her take me downstairs and show me. She pointed to the top of the bookshelf where I keep the mini steel drum my sister got for me as a special souvenir during her missions trip to Trinidad. So, last night we took down the special drum for Allie to "practice" before bringing it to music class today. Allie had a grand time showing off the special drum and even played it especially well during the special song that is sung to the special child before their special prayer. Also, here's Allie playing the extremely special resonator bars during her very special class today:

After class, the special child gets to share their very own specially picked treats during snack time. Allie picked out Capri Sun juice packs and a multi pack of Ritz-Bitz cheesy crackers, animal crackers, and Teddy Grahams. It was an especially tasty ending to one very special morning for a preciously special little girl!

What are You Two Looking At?

Let's take a peak...
Oh. Yes. That is snow

I know Zach...I'm not so happy about the s-word either.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Merciful Fancy Nancy

Last week, seemingly out of the blue, Allie asked me: “What does mercy mean?”
That is definitely a big question for one little girl! How do I even begin to explain mercy to an almost-three-year-old in terms she can understand? I did my best…referencing Bible stories that she knew and it seemed after our conversation she had a pretty good handle on the basic concept of mercy.

A few days ago before nap time I asked Allie to pick out a book for us to read. She picked out her new favorite: the first book of the Fancy Nancy series. These elaborately illustrated picture books follow the life of a little girl named Nancy who loves, Loves, LOVES being fancy. Nancy dresses up in glamorous princess gowns, enjoys “accessorizing” her room, and is especially fond of using words from the French language…for, according to Nancy, any word spoken in French is much fancier than all our plain words in boring old English.

So…there we were, sitting together on Allie’s pink gingham and rosebud princess bed, reading about the fancy adventures of Nancy, and when we got to the part where Nancy has to pick up the “parfaits” from the waiter for her family’s dessert I had an epiphany. Upon receiving the parfaits, Nancy responds in her most polite and fanciest French: “Merci.”

Cue Allie: “Mom…what does mercy mean?”

Ahhh…now I get it…it is then I realize: Merci. Not Mercy.

And then there was much laughter.

Wake Up Call

"Allie...I think Zach is awake from his nap. Would you like to go in and check on him? Tell him Mommy will be there in just a minute!"

"Yep, Mom...Zach's awake...and he's very happy!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts from the Election

I am disappointed with the results of yesterday's presidential election, but I am not devastated. I disagree with many of the president-elect's views on abortion and socialization of government, but I am far from being disheartened regarding the future of the United States. I question the tears of joy and dramatic rejoicing displayed by millions of Americans yesterday at the impending hope of change brought through the saving leadership of one man, but I fully embrace the historical significance of our nation's first African-American president and enthusiastically join in the celebration of this milestone being achieved.

Above all else, I place my hope in God...for He alone can change the hearts of men. I rest in knowing that God is in control of our world, our nation, and our leaders. I am confident that God has a specific purpose and plan for the presidency of Barack Obama.

I can relate to the comments of Eric C. Redmond regarding our duty as Christians to Christ and our government:

The question for me at this time is this: Can I continue to live Soli Deo Gloria under a President whose moral judgment already is questionable before he takes the oath of office? Yes I can, for I can be obedient to Scripture, praying for the one in authority (I Tim. 2:1-8), honoring the one in authority (1 Pet. 2:13-18), submitting to the one in authority (Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1), and seeking righteousness for the entire citizenry (Prov. 14:34). These I will seek to do by grace. I will "honor the good appointment of God."

Moreover, I can follow the admonition and example of Calvin, who, in the quote above, preached that believers should impute to themselves the ills of government and recognize the common grace given to mankind through human governing authorities. For example, in our day, it is not the governmental regulation that slaughters the innocent; it is the people who chose to end the lives of their children, and the willing executioners who kill for the sake of the monetary gain afforded by the abortion industry. The government only allows this sin to receive legal permission and protection. Nevertheless, that same government provides many laws that allow me to worship in freedom, preach the Gospel freely, vote in an election, and write blog posts like this one without fear of censorship or death. I readily can recognize the retention of "some kind of just government" under President Obama's rule.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Recap

Yesterday we had a day full of Halloween fun and festivities!

Allie literally lived out her dream of becoming a princess as she spent the entire day dressed up as Cinderella. From the royal jeweled tiara to the sparkly glass slippers and the poofy blue ball gown, Allie was thrilled to play the part of her very favorite princess:





Just like the real Cinderella,
Cinder-Allie also had a little trouble keeping both shoes on!



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Although many onlookers mistook Zach for a teddy-bear or a bunny rabbit yesterday, he was in fact supposed to be playing the part of Cinderella's favorite mouse, Gus-Gus. He wasn't nearly as thrilled to play dress-up as Allie, but he sure did make for an incredibly cute little (well, maybe little isn't quite the right word) Zach-Zach the mouse:


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Cinder-Allie and Zach-Zach spent the morning trick-or-treating with their friends Rachel (aka-Ariel the Little Mermaid) and Faith (aka-the little bumblebee). They both had a great time showing off their costumes and sharing candy with the other residents in addition to some very cute princesses, a few spidermen, a pirate, and a fireman. After the trick-or-treating, both Cinder-Allie and Zach-Zach took a break to enjoy some of their candy. Apparently, Zach-Zach was much more interested in Cinder-Allie's booty than his own.


hmmmm....I think I need one of those suckers, Cinder-Allie:

And, since you're not paying attention, my dear Cinder-Allie, I think I'll just help myself to your bucket:

Ok, so it's not a sucker....
and it's not even unwrapped yet,
but I just can't wait any longer!

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After a fun time trick-or-treating, we loaded ourselves into the van to meet Grandma for lunch at Chilie's. Zach-Zach did not stay in his costume, but since all beautiful princesses cannot be seen in public without being fully dressed in their glimmering ballgowns and tiaras, Cinder-Allie wore her finest out to lunch. I'm still not sure how Cinder-Allie's mommy was able to get all that dress into her carseat...it definitely took some time and elbow greese. Thankfully Zach-Zach used the opportunity to catch a much needed nap.




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After lunch, we all headed home for some late afternoon naps. After Cinder-Allie and Zach-Zach awoke, Daddy arrived home with a Jack-O-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy's for dinner:



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The pizza was delicous and it was just what a princess and her faithful mouse needed before heading out into the neighborhood for their very first house to house trick-or-treating! Zach-Zach was only patient enough to go to a few houses and then Daddy took him home to help hand out candy to the other trick-or-treaters. Cinder-Allie, on the other hand, couldn't get to enough houses! She completely filled up her candy bucket and had a great time talking to all of our neighbors. In fact, I also enjoyed meeting and chatting with so many of our neighbors. We have been in our house 3 years and I have never talked with as many of our neighbors as I did last night while taking Cinder-Allie trick-or-treating.

I was also impressed that we did not see any gory or terrifying Halloween costumes or decorations...well...except for that scary encounter we had with Barack Obama a few doors down (sorry...I know...that was pretty low...I guess all those negative ads are starting to get to me...haha!). But, seriously, Allie was really scared of the Barack Obama mask. Granted, it was dark outside, but I didn't understand at first why she was so afraid of it. As we were walking away Allie looked at me very seriously and asked me how it was possible for Barack Obama to talk to us without moving his mouth. Ha! So that is why she was so freaked out! After thinking about it, the mask did look very realistic in the dark and I suppose it was a little strange to meet a man that talked to us without moving his mouth at all!


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After one very busy Halloween yesterday, both Cinder-Allie and Zach-Zach slept peacefully while their parents made sure to thoroughly check....errr....more like raid all of their candy. Here's a picture of our...I mean...their booty:


(and yes, that is a FULL SIZE Snickers Bar in the middle! Woohoo! I thought that the handing out of full size candy bars for trick-or-treat was just an urban legend. But...nope! We had a real house on our street giving real candy bars out! )
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Here is the best picture we were able to get of both her royal highness and the mouse yesterday:


Kind of reminds me of this picture from last year:

Except this year, my little pumpkin looks just as big as my little lady bug!
It's amazing how much they have both grown and changed over the past year!